Back the Blue? Or Kill Them?

Trump supporters for Law Enforcement:

Back the Blue! Don’t let the Left disrespect cops or flout the laws!

Trump supporters for Sedition:

Message to law enforcement: execute a duly authorized search warrant on my property while enforcing the gun control laws, and I promise to flout the warrant and shoot you dead!

The first two photos were taken in the parking lot of Whitehouse Mall, Whitehouse Station, New Jersey. The sign on the truck reads, “Law Enforcement for Trump.” The last three were taken a few miles north on County Road 523, in the Dreahook section of Readington, New Jersey. In other words, when push comes to shove, the Trump supporter on Route 523 is promising to kill the Trump supporter driving the truck. File under: “The Contested Legacies of Waco.” 

COVID-19, Risk, and Rights-Violations

This is a discussion that Michael Young and I started at my Facebook page on this article by Michael Tomasky in The New York Times (ht: Suleman Khawaja). Here’s Tomasky’s thesis in a sentence:

Freedom means the freedom not to get infected by the idiot who refuses to mask up.

I started the conversation, which we agreed to continue here instead of on Facebook. Continue reading

Skidmarks on My Heart

Music, when soft voices die,
Vibrates in the memory—
Odours, when sweet violets sicken,
Live within the sense they quicken.
 
Rose leaves, when the rose is dead,
Are heaped for the belovèd’s bed;
And so thy thoughts, when thou art gone,
Love itself shall slumber on.
 
–Percy Bysshe Shelley

This weekend is, for me, a tragic anniversary of sorts. On Saturday, October 11, 1986, I got the news that my cousin Waseem Toosy had died in a traffic accident in Saudi Arabia–on his way, ironically enough, to medical school. Waseem had periodically lived with us while he studied here in the States; he was like a brother to me. He was, I think, 18 or 19 when he died; I was 17. In yet another irony, his late father had been an orthopedic surgeon, and his brother Naeem ended up becoming an emergency-room physician. Continue reading

#ProudBoys: Stand By…

We’re #ProudBoys, and we’re not standing down at all–we’re standing by. OK, we’re sitting by. But #ProudBoys nonetheless, having a gay old time.

Continue reading

Ellos No Las Tienen: Canceling the Autumn Sweater Line

Another counter-example to the “Left has a monopoly on cancel culture” or “cancel culture targets the poor, hapless Right” narrative.

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A Note on the New “Gutenberg Editor”

As some of you may have noticed, WordPress has, in its “wisdom,” introduced a new default editing system at its blogs, pretentiously called the “Gutenberg Block Editor.” It’s a flaming piece of shit which adds no value to the platform, subtracts (or hides) valuable functions that were present in the classic editor, is generally glitch-laden, and is extremely difficult to work with. This move is obviously in compliance with the Tech Axiom that if you can make a change to a platform, the change counts as an “improvement” no matter how miserable it makes the actual users of the platform, and how little they wanted it. (And yes, I have a Premium account, so I’m paying for this crap.) Continue reading

PornHub: Cancel and Destroy

Though there’s room to quibble about its exact definition, on some conception of it, almost everyone agrees that pedophilia is wrong–very wrong. When the acts in question involve very young children, and involve obvious reliance on violence or coercion, the issues left to quibble about rapidly diminish to zero. In such cases, we’re just left to stare pure evil in the face. I don’t think it much matters whether the incentives involved include pecuniary ones. Whether you monetarily profit off of pedophilia or not, it remains wrong. Continue reading

Dominance and Submission

From the classic discussion of the psychology of interruption in discourse: a power-oriented interruption is an attempt to establish dominance over an interlocutor by non-rational, semi-coercive means. In a televised debate, the television audience is a sort of interlocutor, so interruptions can be interpreted as attempts to establish dominance over the audience.

In this context, the relevant question is not who won the debate, but whether the audience acquiesces in domination or resists. The outcome of the “debate” was irrelevant because it wasn’t one. The whole event was simply a bid for domination, full stop, and its success or failure as an attempt depends on how the audience responds to the bid. Does the audience play along with the bid, take its aims for granted, and make excuses for it? Or does it push back in wholehearted rejection? There’s not much room here for neutrality or agnosticism.

Each one of us knows the answer to that question in our own case, and has the power to figure out what it is, partly by bringing it about. Voting may not give you much power or control over the powerful. But that one act does.